Network Recognized by Academy as it Prepares to Celebrate Its 60th Anniversary

New York, December 1, 2020Dr. Thomas Bellut, Director General of German national broadcaster ZDF, one of Europe’s major and most renowned public broadcasters, will receive the International Academy’s 2021 Directorate Emmy® Award, it was announced today by Bruce L. Paisner, President & CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The International Academy’s Special Emmy will be presented to Bellut at the 49th International Emmy® Awards Gala, on Monday, November 22, 2021 in New York City.

The presentation of the award to Mr. Bellut was originally planned for the 2020 International Emmy® Awards ceremony, in recognition of his outstanding leadership of ZDF and in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the reunification of Germany, to which ZDF contributed with intensive coverage. It was postponed to 2021 due to covid-19 related circumstances. In 2021, ZDF will mark the 60th anniversary of the organization’s founding.

“Thomas Bellut is an outstanding journalist, broadcaster and executive, with a 30-year career at ZDF who has made an important mark on television in Germany and beyond”, said Bruce L. Paisner, President and CEO of the International Academy. “It’s a year later than we had planned, but we’re still very pleased that he will receive our Directorate Emmy next November.”

Dr. Thomas Bellut:”In Germany we particularly appreciate the value of free and independent media. I am therefore very pleased that the Academy has expressly linked the award with the ZDF’s achievements in the context of German reunification. This singular chapter of contemporary history has shaped my professional life as a journalist and media manager ”

Bellut became director general of German public television broadcaster ZDF in 2012, after serving as the company’s program director for a decade and before that as correspondent and managing editor in the news division, for over 25 years. Since his appointment at the helm of the channel, he has made quality dramas a priority while continuing to produce popular non-scripted shows, including major global success and International Emmy winner Generation War; the 1950s-set miniseries Ku’damm 59; and long-running natural-history and science series Terra X. In an effort to better compete on the streaming front, Bellut recently called for cross-linking the content of on-demand services with other German public broadcasters instead of attempting to set up one central OTT platform.

On behalf of ZDF, ZDF Enterprises, of which Thomas Bellut is Chairman, is responsible for worldwide program sales, the implementation of international co-productions, license purchasing for quality programs, marketing online rights and the merchandising of strong ZDF program brands. In addition to its commercial activities for ZDF, ZDF Enterprises has also been able to establish itself successfully as an independent market player in both national and international environments. As part of the ZDF group, the company has at its disposal the largest German-language program collection in the world, consisting of series and mini-series, TV movies, documentaries and children’s programs.


About Thomas Bellut and ZDF

Since March 2012, ZDF has been headed by Director- General Thomas Bellut. He was elected by the 60-member governing body, the ZDF Television Council, which represents the interests of the general public. Part of its role is to establish and monitor program standards. Responsibility for corporate guidelines and budget control lies with the 14-member ZDF Administrative Council. ZDF is based in Mainz, but also maintains permanent bureaus in the 16 Länder capitals as well as special editorial and production facilities in Berlin. For international coverage, ZDF has foreign correspondents operating in 19 permanent bureaus worldwide. ZDF offers full-range generalist programming with a mix of information, education, arts, entertainment and sports. Its coverage provides both a broad view on the world and a comprehensive picture of Germany. ZDF also operates the two thematic channels ZDFneo and ZDF info. In partnership with other public broadcasters, ZDF jointly operates the internet-only offer funk, the German channels Phoenix and Kika and the European channels 3sat and Arte.


About The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is a membership-based organization comprised of leading media and entertainment figures from over 60 countries and 500 companies from all sectors of television including internet, mobile and technology. The Academy’s yearly schedule of events includes the prestigious International Emmy® Awards held in New York, The International Emmy® Kids Awards at MIP and a series of industry events such as Academy Day, The International Emmy® World Television Festival and Panels on substantive industry topics. The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recognizes excellence in television produced outside of the United States, as well as US Primetime programs produced in languages other than English, with the prestigious Emmy® Award. Currently celebrating programming across varied areas including: Arts Programming, Current Affairs, Comedy, Documentary, Drama Series, News, Non-Scripted Entertainment, Short-Form Series, Telenovela, and TV Movie/Mini-Series, it also recognizes excellence in Performances and Kids programming. For more information, go to www.iemmys.tv


Media Contacts

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
Eva Obadia, Senior Director, Communications & Partnerships
The Lippin Group 
Matt Biscuiti